Protection from the most common cancer found in women may be hidden in the produce aisle, according to the results of a new study.
In the study, University at Buffalo researchers report that a segment of women between the ages of 30 and 79 who ate the most onions and garlic had a 67 percent decrease in breast cancer risk compared to women who never ate these veggies.
How do onions and garlic decrease breast cancer risk? Scientists can't say for sure, but onions and garlic are high in compounds believed to combat tumor cells. The American Institute for Cancer Research and the Linus Pauling Institute report onions and garlic are rich in antioxidant flavonoids and sulfur-containing S-allyl cysteine, both of which have anticancer properties.
What Causes Cancer?
"We know that normal breast cells become cancerous because of mutations in the DNA, and although some of these are inherited, most DNA changes related to breast cells are acquired during one's life," Dr. Balentine says.
He says while there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, modifying the risk factors that can be altered is a step in the right direction.
The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society report that more than 265,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually in the U.S. And while the 5-year survival for all breast cancer patients as a group is nearly 90 percent, approximately 40,000 women nonetheless die annually from the condition.
Dr. Balentine suggests following the American Cancer Society's guidelines for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.